If there's anything I love, it's a simple, quick, but absolutely sumptuous dinner. It could be in a restaurant or at home, but I happen to think it's even better if it can be achieved at home! And it very easily can be! Classic Chicken Marsala is so easy and takes only a few ingredients!
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Pro Tip to get this dinner on the table fast!
This is a tip that is really true about making any recipe, but especially one where the steps happen kind of quickly. The tip is to have every thing ready to go before you start the pan heating! Measure everything, cut everything, have it all ready to grab ... just like the TV chefs.
Can this be made gluten-free?
Absolutely! And you have choices:
- Use a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend. Bob's Red Mill is a good option. I also love the Manini's brand that is made here in the PNW (AND available on Amazon!)
- Use a starch, like corn, potato, or tapioca.
- Use chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour. I LOVE this flour!
Cut the chicken breasts in half horizontally, making them as even as possible. If necessary, pound them with a meat mallet.
Heat a skillet over medium high heat, add oil and a little butter. Dredge the chicken pieces in the seasoned flour and carefully lay them in the pan. The combination of oil, butter, and dredged meat gives those yummy bits of browning in the pan.
After the chicken is done, transfer it to a warm oven. Add the shallots to the skillet and let them cook till they are almost tender ... 5-8 minutes. Then add the mushrooms and let them cook through.
Let's talk about the Marsala
What IS marsala? Is it just a fancy name for a chicken dish? Nope!
Marsala is fortified wine (one with a higher alcohol content) that is manufactured in Marsala, Sicily, an Italian town located in the Province of Trapani in the westernmost part of Sicily.
It has a nutty, caramelly flavor that is delicious! When you use it in a cooked dish, the alcohol is cooked out and the flavor is left behind.
Dry or sweet Marsala?
Sweet Marsala is usually reserved for making desserts. Or for dessert itself! And dry Marsala is what you would use for this chicken dish.
Carefully (especially if you're cooking with gas!) pour the Marsala into the skillet. Let it reduce to about half, then add a couple of tablespoons of butter and let it blend in by swirling the skillet. You might find some recipes for Chicken Marsala that call for cream, but that is not the authentic Italian way.
And there ya go ... one of the most simple Sicilian chicken dishes ever. Did it actually originate in Sicily? I don't know, but I don't mind eating the dish that carries the name!
Serve it with lemon wedges to squeeze over. It's common in the US to find Chicken Marsala served with pasta, but just like adding cream, it isn't authentically Italian either. I like to serve it with Sauteed Garlic Green Beans and oven roasted potatoes.
Classic Chicken Marsala
- 4 chicken breasts boneless, skinless
- ½ cup flour can use a gluten-free substitute
- salt and pepper for seasoning
- 3 Tablespoons oil I like to use avocado oil
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 4 shallots diced small
- ½ pound brown cremini mushrooms sliced
- ½ cup dry Marsala
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- lemon wedges for serving
- oregano or parsley for garnish
- Cut the chicken breasts in half horizontally. If they are still thick, pound them with a meat mallet till they are all of an even thickness. Season the flour with salt and pepper, then dredge the chicken pieces with it.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-medium high heat. When it is hot, add the oil. Carefully lay the chicken pieces in. Add the butter in small pieces between the chicken. Cook 5-7 minutes on the first side, then turn them over and do the same. Work in batches if needed, reserving the cooked chicken in a warm oven. If you are working in batches, be sure to divide the butter between the batches.
- Add more oil/butter to the pan if needed, and then add the shallots. Cook for 3-4 minutes till the shallot is translucent, then add the mushrooms and cook for 3-5 minutes.
- Add the Marsala to the pan, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce by about half. Turn off the heat and add the last bit of butter. Swirl the pan around till the butter is melted.
- Spoon the mushrooms and sauce over the chicken. Serve with lemon wedges and garnish with parsley, or oregano.